LAPORTE | Dyngus Day, a wildly popular bar hopping event in LaPorte is Monday, and for the first time, another event geared more toward lovers of craft beer and wine is on tap.
The First Maple City Pub Crawl in the downtown is scheduled May 10.
Thaddeus Cutler, the city's downtown coordinator, said he doesn't know exactly what to expect, but feels the Pub Crawl will go well and gain momentum as it becomes more rooted like Dyngus Day, which packs the bars.
"I'm very optimistic and I'm hoping it will be a good start for something to build on in the years to come," said Cutler, who took over as the new downtown coordinator in early March.
Six bars that also serve food along with the restaurants, Seven and Etropal, will participate from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The crawl also will feature craft wine and beer makers setting up areas in each establishment for people to taste their beverages.
Dick's Bar, Ellian's Pub, Lucky Bar, Ogle's Inn, Smutzer's Club Tavern and Twisted K-8 will also take part.
Cutler said all of the participating establishments are within walking distance as opposed to Dyngus Day, which features bars that usually span from one end of the city to the other with the city's Transporte buses providing rides to each of the watering holes.
Cutler said in no way is the Pub Crawl trying to compete with Dyngus Day, now in its 27th year.
"That's a long established festivity in LaPorte and it really does have an enormous following," said Cutler.
Another difference is that Dyngus Day runs from about noon to after midnight with many places offering music from bands or disk jockeys.
A more upscale crowd is also anticipated for the Pub Crawl, which will provide music in some places but not until closer to 8 p.m. for those who want to stay after the crawl officially ends to enjoy the sounds, said Cutler.
Dyngus Day, which has more of a party atmosphere, has eight bars on this year's route.
They are Dick's Bar, Casey's Lanes, Tony's, Ringers, Shooters, the PNA Club and J.J's Sideout Bar.
Also popular among many Dyngus Day participants are buttons obtained from each bar and worn on their shirts or coats to show how many stops they've made on the route.
Polish food such as pierogi are offered at a special price at many of the establishments to celebrate the origins of Dyngus Day, which centuries ago started to celebrate the end of fasting during lent.
Howie Hunsley, the chairperson for Dyngus Day, said he doesn't expect much of anything new this year but anticipates the usual big crowds.
"Everybody come out and collect the buttons and have a good time," said Hunsley.
Cutler said he came up with the idea for the Pub Crawl as another way to feature the offerings in the downtown within a more contained area.
"It's kind of a cool concept," said Cutler.